Former Michigan football player Camaron Cheeseman talks NFL draft with Dave Birkett
Former Michigan football long snapper Camaron Cheeseman talked NFL draft preparation and more Detroit Lions chatter on Tuesday, April 27, 2021.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press
The players may have changed in my mock drafts for the Detroit Lions this spring, but the reasoning hasn’t.
I still think the Lions would be well served taking a quarterback, if the right one fell to No. 7. Short of that, I continue to hear pass catchers and pass protectors top the Lions’ list of most-desired prospects, with Florida’s Kyle Pitts, LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and Oregon’s Penei Sewell as the most likely candidates.
If four quarterbacks go in the first six picks, the Lions should land one of the top three non-QBs in the draft. If only three go, that might improve the Lions chances of trading down.
After way too much hemming and hawing, here’s my final mock draft
1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson
This pick is self-explanatory by now.
2. New York Jets
Zach Wilson, QB, BYU
Wilson is not the clear-cut No. 2 prospect in the draft, or for that matter, the No. 2 quarterback. But he will be the second player off the board.
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3. San Francisco 49ers
Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
I don’t doubt there’s a rift in San Francisco, with some favoring Trey Lance with this pick. But Kyle Shanahan is the quarterback whisperer so it makes sense to give him his QB.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Trey Lance, QB, North Dakota State
I’m playing the odds here. The Falcons need a quarterback for the future, and if they trade down, whoever comes up (Broncos? Bears?) is taking one.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
I’ve flip-flopped between the Bengals reuniting Joe Burrow with the draft’s best receiver, Ja’Marr Chase, or protecting him with the best left tackle. Ultimately, building a wall in front of a young QB is the best thing a team can do.
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6. Miami Dolphins
Kyle Pitts, TE, Florida
Pitts could go as high as No. 4, but in this scenario the Dolphins have their choice of the unicorn tight end or Chase. If both are gone, one of the Alabama receivers seems like an obvious choice.
7. Detroit Lions
Ja’Marr Chase, WR, LSU
You can argue about the positional value of receiver, but Chase is too good to pass up in this scenario. Even in a deep receiver draft, he stands apart as a potential difference maker at a position where the Lions have an immense need. One alternative: I could see the Broncos or Panthers moving up to No. 7 if they fear missing out on whichever quarterback is left.
8. Carolina Panthers
Patrick Surtain, CB, Alabama
The Sam Darnold trade does not take a quarterback out of the equation, as Lance’s high school coach told me the Panthers are the team that had the most contact with him. But I’m slotting the draft’s best defensive player here.
9. Denver Broncos
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
New GM in Denver, makes sense he wants a new quarterback and with Fields sliding it means he can sit in place and wait for his guy.
10. Dallas Cowboys
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
No Pitts and no Surtain leaves Jerry Jones deciding between the draft’s No. 2 corner and offensive lineman.
11. New York Giants
Micah Parsons, LB, Penn State
Lot of speculation about a Giants trade down. Come on, people, this is Dave Gettleman we’re talking about.
12. Philadelphia Eagles
Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama
They’d prefer a cornerback, but receiver is almost as big a need and Waddle is the best prospect left.
13. Los Angeles Chargers
Rashawn Slater, OL, Northwestern
If the rumor mill is right and they really want to trade up for Sewell, stumbling into Slater is not a bad alternative.
14. Minnesota Vikings
Kwity Paye, DE, Michigan
Danielle Hunter’s situation is unsettled, which means the Vikings need a pass rusher, and Paye is the safest one in the draft.
15. New England Patriots
DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
If Bill Belichick has a trade up his sleeve to bring Jimmy Garoppolo back to town, getting one of the draft’s elite receivers makes even more sense.
16. Arizona Cardinals
Caleb Farley CB, Virginia Tech
Farley is a huge roll of the dice, but the Cardinals are a team desperate to compete in the NFC West.
17. Las Vegas Raiders
Alijah Vera-Tucker, OL, USC
After trading Gabe Jackson, Trent Brown and Rodney Hudson this offseason, the Raiders need help up front.
18. Miami Dolphins
Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa
Remember how much the Lions valued big linebackers in that Patriots scheme? Collins is the best of the bunch in this year’s draft.
Christian Darrisaw, OT, Virginia Tech
Martin Mayhew took an offensive or defensive lineman with five of his seven first-round picks as Lions GM. No reason for him to break script with a blocker as good as Darrisaw on the board.
20. Chicago Bears
WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
The Bears are so quarterback-hungry I can see them paying a random to move into the top 10 if they find a willing trade partner.
21. Indianapolis Colts
Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami
If the Colts are comfortable with his medicals, they could have a star in Phillips.
22. Tennessee Titans
Liam Eichenberg, OT Notre Dame
He’s the anti-Isaiah Wilson.
23. New York Jets
Jamin Davis, LB, Kentucky
Davis can be Fred Warner in Robert Saleh’s defense.
24. Pittsburgh Steelers
Najee Harris, RB, Alabama
Harris is too perfect a fit for the Steelers to pass on.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
Greg Newsome, CB, Northwestern
Pairing Newsome with last year’s first-round pick, C.J. Henderson, would give Jacksonville the makings of a pretty good secondary.
26. Cleveland Browns
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame
Even I’m surprised I have Owusu-Koramoah, the draft’s best coverage linebacker, falling this far.
27. Baltimore Ravens
Teven Jenkins, OT, Oklahoma State
A ready-made replacement for Orlando Brown.
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28. New Orleans Saints
Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida
Sean Payton should have fun scheming up ways to get Toney the ball.
29. Green Bay Packers
Azeez Ojulari, LB, Georgia
Aaron Rodgers weeps. Again.
30. Buffalo Bills
Ifeatu Melifonwu, Syracuse
The Travis Etienne rumors were making the rounds this week, but getting a big corner like Melifonwu is a better use of resources for the Bills.
31. Baltimore Ravens
Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU
The Ravens seem to have good luck with mid-round pass rushers so they take the best player available after addressing their offensive line needs at 27.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami
The world champs bring back every starter but can use an infusion of youth up front.